Crewe slip to home defeat to organised Morecambe side
Crewe Alexandra failed to build on Saturday’s first league win of the season against Burton, as a well drilled and clinical Morecambe side won 3-1 at the Mornflake Stadium this evening.
Stephen Robinson’s newly promoted side led 2-0 at the half-time break thanks to goals from Adam Phillips and Arthur Gnahoua and although Mikael Mandron halved the deficit just three minutes into the second half, Gnahoua’s second goal on the night with five minutes left killed off any hopes of us taking anything from the game.
David Artell made one enforced change to the Crewe Alexandra side that recorded their first league win of the season on Saturday.
Captain Luke Murphy failed to shake off the knock he received against his former club Burton Albion, so Josh Lundstram, who provided the assist for J’Neil Bennett’s killer second goal, regained his place.
With Murphy ruled out there was a recall in the matchday squad for Oli Finney.
The former Crewe Alexandra full-back, Greg Leigh, was named in Morecambe’s starting line-up.
Crewe made the better start to the game. Mikael Mandron flew in at the far post the first 60 seconds to try and make a concrete touch to a cross. A few minutes a cross from Kayne Ramsay was just too high for Mandron who was lurking at the far post.
After making a positive start to the game, it was therefore a surprise that Morecambe scored with literally with their first attack of the night. Crewe were caught out down their right hand side and Leigh exposed the space left down that flank. With Scott Kashket attempting to race back, the athletic Leigh produced a teasing low cross and Adam Phillips had positioned himself for a simple tap in past Will Jaaskelainen. The quality of Leigh’s delivery cannot be underestimated but it was still a poor goal to concede from our perspective.
The opening goal from the visitors injected some extra confidence into their play. After 10 minutes, they so nearly scored a second from a carbon copy move to their first goal. Leigh again exposed our right flank and his low cross was touched by Jaaskelainen and Cole Stockton pounced but his goalbound effort was blocked close to the line and spun behind for a corner. It was a let off for the Alex.
Those diagonal passes into Leigh were causing us all sorts of issues defensively and Crewe were struggling to get Bennett and Ainley into the contest early on.
Cole Stockton hit a dipping volley from the edge of the box just over, although the Alex goalkeeper had it covered.
On 23 minutes there was a fantastic ovation for the sadly passed Christian Mbulu, who served both clubs during his career. Both sets of supporters clapped for a minute to appreciate the popularity of the defender.
Five minutes later, Morecambe doubled their advantage with another low cross into the box. Wes McDonald’s excellent delivery to the near post was tucked home by Gnahoua for 2-0. Crewe's failure to cut out crosses had cost us badly.
Crewe needed a spark from somewhere, a smart turn from Scott Robertson saw him feed Lundstram and he in turn found Kasket. The winger cut in from his wing position to angle himself a shot but his final effort was tame and collected by Kyle Letheren in the Morecambe goal.
The Shrimpers had a large appeal for a penalty when they felt that a cross brushed the arm of Thomas, but referee Howard wasn’t interested.
Crewe were sloppy in possession at times and to their credit, the Alex supporters tried to lift the performance with their backing. A cross from Mandron wasn’t quite met enough by the boot of Robertson and in the closing minutes of the half, Crewe enjoyed their best spell.
A poor clearance from Jaaskelainen with his feet so nearly presented Morecambe with a third goal. His kick into the centre of the pitch only found Stockton and it was suddenly four players against Thomas. Stockton fed the overlapping Shane McLoughlin and his fierce drive clipped the top of the crossbar on its way over.
Crewe rallied well to end the half on top. Bennett sprung into some life and forced a couple of smart saves from Lethern, who got a strong hand on the first effort and fingertips to his second and Ainley also forced the Morecambe stopper into a good save after he had returned a corner with interest. It was better from Crewe in the final five minutes of the half but we had given ourselves a mountain to climb in the second period.
The Morecambe advantage was halved within three minutes of the second half. A well worked move saw Bennett and the advanced Rio Adebisi combine and the full-back’s excellent cross across the six-yard box was tucked home by Mandron for his third goal of the season. It was just the tonic Crewe needed. The tempo went up, as did the noise inside the stadium.
It was game on again. The Crewe goal prompted a change from Robinson with McLaughlin and Gibson on for the visitors with the booked Cooney and McDonald making way.
Daniels made two swift blocks to deny Phillips on the pull-back and then from Diagouraga.
Crewe’s big chance to equalise came in the 64th minute. Lundstram clipped a great ball into the feet of Mandron and he kept his composure to feed Ainley but he shot too close to Letheren and the rebound was smuggled behind for a corner. The attacking midfielder would be disappointed not to a have scored and the Alex wouldn’t get a better chance in the game to level.
Adebisi became Crewe’s best threat down the left hand side and he was combining a lot more with the on-loan Bennett to ask questions of the Morecambe backline.
Morecambe were a threat on the counter attack though and had chances to seal the points before they actually did. Stockton shot straight at the Alex goalkeeper from a really good position after Phillips had found him. There was a flurry of bookings for the visitors in a short space of time.
With eight minutes remaining, Mandron forced Lethern into another save after running in behind and hitting in on the drop. Crewe continued to press and Artell introduced Porter and Finney to find a goal, but it would go to Morecambe.
in the 85th minute, a long goal kick found Stockton in a wrestling contest with Daniels and after emerging with the ball, he fed Gnahoua who made no mistake with an arrowed drive into the top corner to seal the three points.